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Learning Three.Js: The JavaScript 3D Library for Webgl (Community Experience Distilled) [Paperback]

Jos Dirksen
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: 30.99
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Book Description

17 Oct 2013 Community Experience Distilled

Create and animate stunning 3D graphics using the open source Three.js JavaScript library


  • Create and animate beautiful 3D graphics directly in the browser using JavaScript without the need to learn WebGL
  • Learn how to enhance your 3D graphics with light sources, shadows, and advanced materials and textures
  • Each subject is explained using extensive examples that you can directly use and adapt for your own purposes

In Detail

Three.js is a JavaScript 3D library that offers a wide range of features for creating and displaying stunning 3D computer graphics on a web browser in an intuitive manner using JavaScript without having to deal with the complexity of a WebGL low-level API. Even though WebGL makes it possible to create 3D graphics in the browser without having to use plugins, programming WebGL, however, is hard and complex. This book shows you how Three.js allows you to be independent of browser plugins.

If you are an experienced web designer who wants to set the tone for an immersive design environment in your applications then this book is for you.

"Learning Three.js: The JavaScript 3D Library for WebGL" is a practical, example-rich book that will help you to master all the features of Three.js. With this book, you’ll learn how to create and animate gorgeous looking 3D scenes directly in your browser utilizing the full potential of WebGL and modern browsers without having to learn WebGL.

"Learning Three.js: The JavaScript 3D Library for WebGL" starts by going over the basic concepts and building blocks used in Three.js. From there on, it will expand on these subjects using extensive examples and code samples. This will allow you to learn everything you need to know about Three.js in an easy and interactive manner.

Besides the basic concepts, this book will show you how you can create realistic looking 3D objects using materials and textures as well as how to load them from externally created models. You’ll learn how to easily control the camera using the Three.js build-in camera controls so you can fly or walk around the 3D scene you have created. You will also learn how to use morph and bones-based animation and how to add physics to your scene.

What you will learn from this book

  • Create standard HTML skeleton and render loops for your Three.js projects
  • Learn how to use the different geometries that are provided by Three.js
  • Apply realistic lighting and shadows to the 3D objects you have created
  • Learn how the different types of materials in Three.js work and how they interact with your 3D objects and the rest of the environment
  • Use the different camera controls provided by Three.js to effortlessly navigate around your 3D scene
  • Work with a particle system to create snow, rain, and galaxy-like effects
  • Import and animate models from external formats such as OBJ, STL, Collada, and much more
  • Create and run animations using either morph targets or bones animations
  • Use advanced textures on materials to create realistic looking 3D objects using bump maps, normal maps, specular maps, and light maps
  • Change the output of Three.js rendered using one of its post processing options
  • Interact directly with WebGL by creating custom vertex and fragment shaders
  • Apply physics to your 3D objects using the Physijs JavaScript library

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Frequently Bought Together

Learning Three.Js: The JavaScript 3D Library for Webgl (Community Experience Distilled) + Game Development with Three.Js
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Product details

  • Paperback: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (17 Oct 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782166289
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782166283
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 19.2 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 351,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Jos Dirksen

Jos Dirksen has worked as a Software Developer and Architect for more than a decade. He has much experience in a large range of technologies ranging from backend technologies, such as Java and Scala, to frontend development using HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. Besides working with these technologies, Jos also regularly speaks at conferences and likes to write about new and interesting technologies on his blog. He also likes to experiment with new technologies and see how they can best be used to create beautiful data visualizations, the results of which you can see on his blog at http://www.smartjava.org/.

Jos is currently working as an Enterprise Architect for Malmberg, a large Dutch publisher of educational material. He is helping to create a new digital platform for the creation and publishing of educational content for primary, secondary, and vocational education.

Previously, Jos has worked in many different roles in the private and public sectors, ranging from private companies such as Philips and ASML to organizations in the public sector, such as the Department of Defense.

Besides his interest in frontend JavaScript and HTML5 technologies, he is also interested in backend service development using REST and traditional web service technologies. Jos has already written two books on this subject. He is the coauthor of the Open Source ESBs in action book that was published in 2008, and in 2012 he published a book on how to apply SOA Governance in a practical manner. This book is titled SOA Governance in Action.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well-written step-by-step progression 12 Jun 2014
By Z. Ler
Very well-written.
The step-by-step progression of the three.js lingo makes it a pleasure to read.
There is a fine balance between the detailness of information dispensed.
I have little background in 3D programming, but desire to get more into it and was elated to add this to my reading list.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great place to start 16 April 2014
Originally developed by SGI, OpenGL is the real-time 3D graphics standard that powers applications such as Maya. If memory serves, it’s also the reason why, in 1999, many computer graphics students at Bournemouth University, including myself, begged, stole or borrowed to get an NT box loaded with a 3DLabs graphics card.

Just over a decade later, a very viable implementation of OpenGL for the web emerged in the form of a JavaScript API dubbed WebGL. My interest was initially piqued by the Chrome Experiments project, which demonstrated the technology’s potential for combining HTML5-powered interactivity with surprisingly rich, realtime 3D rendering.

At the time of writing this, I feel this potential is largely unrealised. As everything moves to the web, mobile processing power climbs, scripting replaces compiled languages, rendering shifts to realtime and content is increasingly delivered interactively, WebGL is set to become the cross-platform standard for 3D graphics.

With much of my career vested in Maya’s walled garden, engaging with WebGL presented an interesting challenge. The web itself is a historical mish-mash of technologies and frameworks––HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, etc.––which the coding purist in me wanted to deconstruct and study from the ground up. In the end I decided that ‘from the surface down’ was a more efficient way to keep my learning timely and relevant, as well as protect any vestiges of a social life.

This in turn led me to acknowledge that WebGL is pretty low-level, and best approached via a wrapper framework offering some semblance of Maya-like scene manipulation. The eminent choice here was JavaScript library three.js, used in several of the Chrome Experiments and currently enjoying wide adoption.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative from beginners to advanced 9 April 2014
WebGL/Three.js is still not fully browser supported but this book goes a long way in helping that happen by showing developers how to get started without any WebGL/Three.js knowledge. As a Web developer I found it very informative in step by step progression to more advanced modelling up to shading and physics integration. You don't need to know any WebGL as a prerequisite either. As an essential component, all materials and examples are downloaded as it is much more intuitive to see a real coded example rather than merely following instructions. If you want to get into Three.js you'll find a lot of information in this book that you won't find freely online.
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5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic 29 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book to start with if you don't know Three.JS. Thank Jos, this is what I have been able to do thanks to your book: [...]

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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent detailed guide 28 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a very thorough review of all the aspects of the the threejs library and ideal to ensure that you understand all the components. I am en experienced graphics programmer and this should help me get up to speed really easily.
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